Thursday, April 29, 2021
You can’t remember the last time you had any annual leave, you’re in the middle of a massive project at work and you haven’t had time to watch any Netflix at all this week. Just when you thought things were getting on top of you, you remember a glimmer of hope on the horizon…a bank holiday.
Bank holidays can be a great time to stop for a moment and take stock. Stress might’ve been building at work and if you're back in, people have been bringing a lot of cakes into the office (it’s rude not to accept one… or three, right?) so you might not be in tip top condition. An extra day off work can help to dust off the cobwebs and get your mojo back.
Working sporadic hours and overtime can mean that healthy eating goes out the window. Having a free day can help you plan your meals for the week ahead. Therefore, research recipes online and make a rota to decide what to prepare. Do a food-shop to ensure you have all the ingredients you’ll need, otherwise it’s easy to discard plans if you have to buy things after work. Sticking to a list when you go shopping also means that you won’t go ad-hoc and pick up lots of things you don’t need.
Why not make the first meal you’ve planned on your day off? You can whack it in the fridge and reheat it when you get home from work the next day. In fact, you could do this for a few of the meals you’ve planned just to get you started and practice the recipes. It takes the stress out of deciding what you’re going to cobble together with the contents of your cupboard on the way home from work. As well, snacking is a big issue too and all too often grazing at your desk all day can lead to piling on the pounds; bring in healthy things to nibble on like vegetables or seeds.
It’s very tempting to go and spend all day in the pub on a bank holiday (now that we can) and drink or smoke excessively, ending the evening by stopping off at your local takeaway for a burger. But a bank holiday can give you time to refocus. Make a plan for your bank holiday that involves a balanced approach; revisit something you love whether it’s reading, writing, knitting or catching up with friends. Making plans means you’re less likely to fall off the wagon.
Even sitting down and calculating how much you spend a month on smoking, drinking and junk food can give you some clarity. Give yourself some targets, this might be financial or health wise. You can plan on putting the money you save per month towards a reward, which could be something like a holiday.
However, it’s difficult to cut out some things altogether, so don’t try and do this straight away. Even cutting down slightly on your vices can make a big difference to your overall wellbeing and wallet. There’re plenty of apps you can download which can help you record the units of alcohol consumed, money saved on cigarettes and calories saved on junk food. You’ll find yourself feeling less lethargic and with more energy in no time.
Your bank holiday could be the start of a new exercise regime and use each bank holiday as a marker to help measure your progress. Put together an achievable training plan that fits around your schedule. There’re plenty of plans put together by personal trainers online, often for free and you can find one that suits you. Don’t go too hard straight away, you need to be realistic. It’s important to build on the regime you do choose though and increase the intensity of your workouts, otherwise you won’t improve. Identify exercises or sporting activities that you find fun, so that you’re more incentivised to complete them. Training with a friend can also be a good idea as you can encourage each other and it’s more difficult to get out of, as you’ll feel guilty cancelling.
You don’t have to be a gym member to have a good workout. Little things like walking home instead of getting the bus or doing a few sit-ups in the ad-breaks of the programme you’re watching can all add up. The benefits of exercise and a better diet aren’t just physical, your mental wellbeing can also improve and they can give you more energy and help you to deal better with stress.